Many churchgoers aren't sure about the political views of their pastors

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Voting may matter to Christians but many admit to being a little unsure about what their pastors actually think when it comes to politics. 

They are also not so comfortable with churches endorsing candidates or speaking out on social or political issues, a recent study by the Pew Research Center has found. 

According to the survey of 6,364 American adult churchgoers, nearly half (45%) are not sure whether their church leaders are Democrats or Republicans. 

Over a quarter (27%) said they think the leaders of their church are a mix of both. 

Among those who believe they know the political affiliation of their church leaders, 16% say it is Republican, while 11% say it is Democrat. 

While religion has tended to play a prominent role in American politics, Pew said the findings suggested that "churches and other houses of worship are not strongly political environments, at least according to the people in the pews". 

When politics does surface at church, the vast majority of respondents do not appear to have a problem with it. 

Nearly three quarters (72%) said that there was "about the right amount" of politics in their church's sermons, with only 11% saying there was "too much". 

The research also revealed that many churchgoers (62%) "generally agree" with their pastors' views when they do talk about politics. 

Evangelical Protestants were far more likely (75%) than Americans who only attend religious services a few times a year (62%), black Protestants (65%), mainline Protestants (58%) and Catholics (53%) to agree with their pastor's political views. 

Despite this, the vast majority (76%) of respondents said they did not believe that churches or houses of worship should come out in favour of particular candidates during election time. 

Nearly two thirds (63%) said that places of worship should keep out of political matters (63%), while only 36% supported churches speaking out on current social and political issues.